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Project Summary

Project 1994-018-05 - Asotin Creek Enhancement and Restoration
Project Number:
1994-018-05
Title:
Asotin Creek Enhancement and Restoration
Summary:
Asotin Creek, a tributary to the Snake River at (Rm) 145 drains approximately 325 square miles of Asotin and Garfield Counties. Headwaters originate in the Blue Mountains (6,200 ft) and flow east into the Snake River (800 ft) at Asotin, WA. Located in WRIA # 35, the highest priority WRIA in southeastern Washington according to WDFW's "At-Risk Stock Significance Map," Asotin Creek is part of the Governor's Snake River Salmon Recovery Region.

Asotin Creek remains an important Snake River tributary for anadromous salmonid production in Washington and has been given the distinction of a reserve for Wild Steelhead under current WDFW management policy. Charley Creek, an upper tributary, historically has some of the highest densities of juvenile steelhead in southeastern Washington according to WDFW fisheries surveys.

ESA listed stocks of summer steelhead, bull trout and spring chinook along with resident rainbow trout utilize the watershed. Indigenous anadromous fish species most actively targeted for management are summer steelhead, bull trout, and spring chinook salmon. The goals for these species are to restore sustainable, naturally producing populations to support tribal and non-tribal harvest and cultural and economical practices while protecting the biological integrity and genetic diversity of these species in the watershed. The broad general strategies used to achieve the habitat objectives include protecting and restoring prioritized habitat through the use of in-stream, riparian and upland best management practices.

The Asotin Creek Model Watershed Plan (Plan) was printed in 1995. It was the first BPA funded Model Watershed Plan completed in Washington that deals specifically with watershed restoration and protection focused on fish habitat restoration. Anadromous salmonid production in Asotin Creek is impacted by high summer stream temperatures, sediment deposition, turbidity, loss of riparian vegetation and lack of suitable resting and rearing pool habitat as recognized by the Plan. Decreasing stream water temperatures and increasing complex resting and rearing pools are goals identified in the Plan. The SOW for this project is not only identified in the "Asotin Creek Model Watershed Plan", but the work elements can also be found in the "Asotin Creek Subbasin Plan" and the "Snake River Salmon Recovery Plan".

Successful completion of past BPA, SRFB and WCC habitat projects and working relationships with watershed residents and interested parties have resulted in projects being completed to address factors limiting salmonids. Fencing and alternative water developments have been completed to reduce direct animal impacts to the stream and riparian planting projects have been identified as a high priority as well as instream habitat to improve insufficient resting and rearing areas.

On March 16, 1999 the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) listed seven additional salmon species as Threatened under the federal Endangered Species Act, bringing the total statewide listings to sixteen. Spring chinook were listed in 1992, steelhead in 1997 and bull trout in 1998, all of which occur in Asotin Creek. The new listings in March did not affect ACCD projects as much as other areas of the state. The ACCD has been working with the NMFS and USFWS to obtain permits for its BPA In-Stream Habitat Projects. Biological Assessments were submitted for and approved through this process and the ACCD has developed a good working relationship with the landowners, federal and state agencies, and tribes.

NMFS believes that any successful recovery strategy must demonstrate:

· Substantive protective and conservation elements.
· A high degree of certainty that it will be implemented.
· A comprehensive monitoring program.
· A recognition of the need for partnerships between federal, state, local and tribal governments.

The ACCD supports this approach, however local citizens and landowners need to be recognized as partners by all government agencies. Without cooperation and partnerships at the local level this process will not be successful. The objectives within the overall SOW are to continue to identify priority areas and actions for ESA listed streams and fish species within the Asotin Watershed and to provide habitat restoration and to further establish, protect and improve overall water quality, riparian areas and stream habitat. Additional objectives are to continue to reduce soil erosion and instream sedimentation by stabilizing soils and streambanks with agricultural BMP's and livestock management and exclusion from adjacent streambanks and beds.
Proposer:
None
Proponent Orgs:
Asotin County Conservation District (SWCD)
Starting FY:
2004
Ending FY:
2019
BPA PM:
Stage:
Implementation - Project Status Report
Area:
Province Subbasin %
Blue Mountain Asotin 100.00%
Purpose:
Habitat
Emphasis:
Restoration/Protection
Focal Species:
Chinook - Snake River Spring/Summer ESU (threatened)
Steelhead - Snake River DPS (threatened)
Trout, Bull (threatened)
Wildlife
Species Benefit:
Anadromous: 100.0%   Resident: 0.0%   Wildlife: 0.0%
Special:
None

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Instream habitat enhancement work. Courtesy of Asotin County Conservation District.

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ISCO Monitoring Station at the South Fork of Asotin Creek

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Summary of Budgets

To view all expenditures for all fiscal years, click "Project Exp. by FY"

Expense SOY Budget Working Budget Contracted Amount Modified Contract Amount Expenditures *
FY2016 (Previous) $538,791 $526,291 $538,791 $538,791 $488,874

BiOp FCRPS 2008 (non-Accord) $526,291 $538,791 $538,791 $488,874
FY2017 (Current) $538,791 $538,791 $538,791 $538,791 $231,608

BiOp FCRPS 2008 (non-Accord) $538,791 $538,791 $538,791 $231,608
FY2018 (Next) $0 $0 $0 $0

BiOp FCRPS 2008 (non-Accord) $0 $0 $0 $0

* Expenditures data includes accruals and are based on data through 30-Apr-2017

Decided Budget Transfers  (FY2016 - FY2018)

Acct FY Acct Type Amount Fund Budget Decision Date
FY2016 Expense $538,791 From: BiOp FCRPS 2008 (non-Accord) FY16 Initial Planning Budgets - Expense 05/22/2015
FY2016 Expense $12,500 To: BiOp FCRPS 2008 (non-Accord) January 26th Transfers 01/26/2017
FY2017 Expense $538,791 From: BiOp FCRPS 2008 (non-Accord) FY17 SOY Budgets 06/02/2016

Pending Budget Decision?  No


Project Cost Share:

FY2016 0 %
FY2015 54 %
FY2014 51 %
FY2013 44 %
FY2012 53 %
FY2011 46 %
FY2010 61 %
FY2009 67 %
FY2008 61 %
FY2007 63 %
Fiscal Year Cost Share Partner Total Proposed
Contribution
Total Confirmed
Contribution
FY2015 (Unspecified Org) $21,089
FY2015 Local project sponsors $237,068
FY2015 Natural Resources Conservation Service $63,113
FY2015 Washington Department of Ecology $3,835
FY2015 Washington State Conservation Commission $292,161
FY2015 Washington State Recreation and Conservation Office $2,500

Contracts

The table below contains contracts with the following statuses: Active, Complete, History, Issued.
Expense Contracts:
Number Contractor Name Title Status Contracted Amount Dates
4051 SOW Asotin County Conservation District 2001-002-00 ASOTIN WATERSHED GRAZING BIOLOGICAL PLANNING History $1,600 3/20/2001 - 12/31/2002
4280 SOW Asotin County Conservation District 1999-002-00 ASOTIN WATERSHED PROJECT IMPLEMENTATION History $54,308 4/2/2001 - 3/15/2002
6202 SOW Asotin County Conservation District 199401805 ASOTIN CREEK CHANNEL, FLOODPLAIN/RIPARIAN RESTORATION History $14,209 8/13/2001 - 9/30/2004
6230 SOW Asotin County Conservation District 1999-054-00 ASOTIN CREEK INSTREAM PROJECT MONITORING History $45,090 8/14/2001 - 9/30/2004
6228 SOW Asotin County Conservation District 2000-054-00 ASOTIN CREEK RIPARIAN FENCING History $84,819 8/14/2001 - 9/30/2004
6233 SOW Asotin County Conservation District 1997-086-00 ASOTIN WATERSHED UPLAND BMP'S History $5,706 8/14/2001 - 5/31/2004
6420 SOW Asotin County Conservation District 1999-060-00 ASOTIN COUNTY CONSERVATION DISTRICT WATERSHED UPLAND History $43,431 8/15/2001 - 9/30/2004
6422 SOW Asotin County Conservation District 1998-047-00 ASOTIN WATERSHED INFORMATION & EDUCATION History $8,443 8/15/2001 - 9/30/2004
7965 SOW Asotin County Conservation District 1999-002-00 ASOTIN WATERSHED PROJECT IMPLEMENTATION History $197,169 12/1/2001 - 9/30/2004
11847 SOW Asotin County Conservation District 1999-060-00 ASOTIN COUNTY SIX-YEAR DIRECT SEED PROGRAM History $102,953 9/16/2002 - 9/30/2004
20086 SOW Asotin County Conservation District 1994-018-05 ASOTIN MODEL WATERSHED PROGRAM History $251,898 10/1/2004 - 9/30/2005
5207 SOW US Forest Service (USFS) 2000-047-00 GIS MAPPING - ASOTIN CREEK WATERSHED History $0 3/23/2001 - 12/31/2002
24401 SOW Asotin County Conservation District 1994-018-05 EXP ASOTIN MODEL WATERSHED PROGRAM History $283,509 10/1/2005 - 12/31/2006
30748 SOW Asotin County Conservation District 1994-018-05 EXP ASOTIN MODEL WATERSHED PROGRAM History $254,001 1/1/2007 - 12/31/2007
72995 SOW Asotin County Conservation District 1994-018-05 EXP ASOTIN COUNTY WATERSHED HABITAT ENHANCE & RESTORE Issued $538,791 7/1/2016 - 6/30/2017



Annual Progress Reports
Expected (since FY2004):14
Completed:7
On time:7
Status Reports
Completed:46
On time:20
Avg Days Late:14

Earliest Subsequent           Accepted Count of Contract Deliverables
Contract Contract(s) Title Contractor Start End Status Reports Complete Green Yellow Red Total % Green and Complete Canceled
20086 24401, 30748, 36126, 40721, 45812, 51042, 59991, 65523, 69521, 72995 1994-018-05 ASOTIN MODEL WATERSHED PROGRAM Asotin County Conservation District 10/2004 10/2004 Approved 45 187 21 2 23 233 89.27% 17
Project Totals 45 187 21 2 23 233 89.27% 17


Review: 2013 Geographic Category Review

Independent Scientific Review Panel Assessment

Assessment Number: 1994-018-05-ISRP-20130610
Project: 1994-018-05 - Asotin Creek Enhancement and Restoration
Review: 2013 Geographic Category Review
Proposal Number: GEOREV-1994-018-05
Completed Date: 6/11/2013
Final Round ISRP Date: 6/10/2013
Final Round ISRP Rating: Meets Scientific Review Criteria (Qualified)
Final Round ISRP Comment:

1. Purpose: Significance to Regional Programs, Technical Background, and Objectives

This is a long-term, whole watershed "ridgetop to ridgetop" restoration project that has employed use of integrated restoration treatments (upslope, floodplain/riparian, and instream treatments). The Asotin County Conservation District manages the project and works with federal, state, and local agencies and landowners to identify and prioritize habitat restoration activities. It is an important regional program and facilitates collaboration between private landowners and agencies and enhances cost-sharing in an effort to improve riparian and aquatic habitat conditions. There has been a substantial amount of coordination and the completion of a wide array of important restoration work. It is stated that there have been large advances in habitat quantity and quality realized since beginning of work in the 1980s. Unfortunately there is no summary describing these changes, where they have occurred and what treatments, or combination of treatments appear to have been responsible for them.

The project complements the Asotin Subbasin Plan, Snake River Regional Recovery Plan, WRIA 35 Watershed Plan, and the Asotin Creek Model Watershed effort. A stated in the proposal, the past approach has been site-scale and opportunistic and this proposal will employ the "Atlas Process" to develop a more strategic approach for restoration. As described, this process will synthesize data and GIS layers and use the TAC to identify priority locations (BSRs) and treatments. There are a number of issues that need to be considered: previous ISRP comments on geomorphic analysis and monitoring do not appear to have been fully addressed; the process does not appear to provide sufficient focus on past monitoring and lessons learned over the last 15+ years of implementation; as a whole watershed restoration project including a substantial upland component, it seems that the make-up of the TAC should be interdisciplinary and not limited to biologists; the description of how priorities will be set is vague and the role of the Stakeholder TAC (local experts) seems limited to only making recommendations on project feasibility.

Looking at various reports and documents, via hotlinks in the proposal, it appears that there is a good deal of relevant information that was not included in the main body of the current proposal. One example is a wide range of public outreach and education activities. These have been ongoing for several years and likely have contributed to good landowner understanding and buy in to the restoration efforts and a higher level of understanding by residents, especially children and students, on the importance of healthy watersheds to fish and to humans. There are other examples including additional monitoring and a variety of lessons learned that were not presented or specifically referenced in the proposal. A video called “Ridgetop to Ridgetop” has been developed which is a very high quality product. The video should be very useful in attracting interest and support from landowners and the general public. This support is essential because habitat restoration often requires support of private landowners. It would be useful to get this video on the NPPC website. The video and presentation to the ISRP provide confidence that the program has made good progress, especially in regard to gaining support of private landowners.

Four general objectives were briefly identified. These objectives should include quantitative metrics, that can be monitored, and a stated time frame for the expected outcomes. In other words, based on past experience, how much can be accomplished during the next project period? The objectives should also be linked to the four limiting factors that were identified in the proposal. LWD and bed scour were not directly addressed by the objectives.

2. History: Accomplishments, Results, and Adaptive Management (Evaluation of Results)

It appears that there have been substantial accomplishments in this watershed and that they have addressed both valley bottom and upslope issues. There is very little discussion that quantitatively summarizes the extent and results of past restoration treatments. Similarly, there was very limited discussion regarding the many lessons that have likely been learned over the long history of restoration work. A positive aspect of the proposal is the recognition that a more strategic approach is needed for more effective restoration results. Unfortunately, the current approach appears limited to the instream and floodplain components of the project and does not consider upslope elements.

Ideally, the proposal should have stated its initial quantitative objectives for each of its previous actions, such as miles of stream fenced and numbers of trees planted, and then describe what was accomplished and the associated results, for example reduced water temperature or healthier riparian vegetation. Information about accomplishments was provided in linked implementation reports, but a summary of this key information should have been in the proposal so that reviewers and the Council can readily see what has been accomplished. In the linked reports, it was not clear whether the reported activities achieved the initial objectives, in part because quantitative objectives probably were not developed for the initial projects. Proposals such as this should estimate what they hope to accomplish and then evaluate what was accomplished. This is not monitoring project effectiveness, rather it is documenting accomplishments, which is a task that should be easy to do. Presentation of this information would facilitate a roll-up of habitat accomplishments across all watersheds in the Columbia basin.

The proposal attempted to address comments from the previous ISRP review. The program consulted with a BPA geomorphologist, but it is not clear to what extent the prioritization process will account for geomorphic processes, as suggested by the ISRP. The ISRP also asked for monitoring and assessment, but the sponsors have not addressed this issue other than to respond that the project is a habitat project, not RM&E. Some fish and habitat monitoring is being conducted by other entities such as WDFW and the State of Washington’s IMW. It appears that the annual implementation report contains much of this information even though the proposal does not.

Evaluation of Results

There appears to have been a good deal of productive work, coordination, and the completion of a wide array of activities over the life of this project. Unfortunately, there is a limited discussion of actual results other than the statement "to date, large advances in habitat quantity and quality have been realized." A specific example of where a description of results has not been provided is the channel, re-meander project that was completed in 2005 where nearly a mile of stream was treated on lower George Creek. The project was completed more than 7 years ago, and yet there is little discussion of the results of this very intensive, restoration treatment. Additional examples include reductions in sediment input from the use of no-till practices, revegetation of riparian areas and fencing and planting. There have clearly been important results from these treatments, but no quantitative measures or estimates are provided.

3. Project Relationships, Emerging Limiting Factors, and Tailored Questions

There is a cursory discussion of emerging limiting factors that only addresses non-native plant species. Surprisingly, there is no discussion of climate change and possible effects on stream temperature, stream flow, or potential changes in riparian vegetation. Perhaps a key limiting factor, though not emerging, is private property ownership that might prevent priority actions. The proposal highlights cooperation with landowners, but it did not identify the number of priority actions that may be constrained by unwilling landowners. How will this compromise or adversely impact adjacent habitat restoration activities?Nevertheless, the ISRP was impressed with the informative presentation and video that documented significant progress in gaining support by private landowner to protect and restore habitat.

4. Deliverables, Work Elements, Metrics, and Methods

The proposal generally describes the type of actions that will be implemented as deliverables. The proposal should quantify these deliverables so that completed actions can be compared with what was proposed. For example, how many acres, or stream miles, of riparian vegetation is proposed to be planted during the project period? Each deliverable should have a quantitative objective so that progress against the objectives can be documented. Plus, it would be good to know how much might be accomplished with the proposed budget. This type of information is needed for habitat restoration efforts throughout the Columbia basin so that the Council and planners can readily see what is being proposed and what is being accomplished. No details are provided on when this work will be accomplished or evaluated.

Methods or rationales to achieve objectives were not fully described. It is not clear how some deliverables will achieve the stated objective(s). For example, how will removal of noxious weeds reduce embeddedness in the stream channel?

Specific comments on protocols and methods described in MonitoringMethods.org

Overall, this proposal is weak regarding comprehensive monitoring for a long-term, whole watershed restoration project. It is important that a coherent monitoring plan be developed for the watershed restoration program and is one that integrates the range of activities by all players. The monitoring plan should be strategic and build on experience gained in past efforts. It should also incorporate ongoing efforts such as those for the IMW being done by the State of Washington. Monitoring should include a base level of implementation and compliance monitoring for all SWCD projects.

There is, and has been, a wide variety of monitoring activities over the long life of the project. Results of the evaluation of these efforts are not provided or discussed. A summary of past monitoring activities and findings is overdue for this project.

As stated above, this is an IMW for the State of Washington, and there is monitoring for fish response to restoration ongoing. There is no discussion of results or discussion as to any linkage with other monitoring. Also, there is no mention of ISEMP/CHAMP or AEM or how this will be incorporated into the current plans for monitoring. These efforts may serve the needs for effectiveness monitoring if they are integrated with the ongoing habitat restoration effort.


===========QUALIFICATIONS FOLLOW================

The ISRP was impressed by the sponsor’s presentation and the video that documented the program’s success in gaining support by private landowners for habitat restoration activities. Communication with private landowners and gaining their support is a key achievement of this project. The ISRP is encouraged that this effort will lead to other willing participants in habitat restoration.

The ISRP's qualifications should be addressed in contracting, and the ISRP would like to see a progress report in 2014. Qualifications include:

 

Qualification #1 - Qualification #1
Further discussion of the strategic planning and prioritization process and a timeline for completion of this planning/prioritization effort is needed. It is critical that the program utilize a strategic process to prioritize future projects. This is a very important component for ensuring effective use of funds and increasing the likelihood of a positive ecological response. Actions should not be undertaken unless they have been vetted through the evaluation and prioritization process.
Qualification #2 - Qualification #2
Project objectives and proposed "deliverables" should be quantitative so that accomplishments can be better documented. For example, how many miles will be fenced and how many trees will be planted?
Qualification #3 - Qualification #3
Basic accomplishments should be quantified and documented in a report so that the Council knows what has been accomplished with the past funding. This should also include a summary of past monitoring results and major lessons learned.
Qualification #4 - Qualification #4
A coherent and comprehensive implementation and effectiveness monitoring plan is needed. After 15+ years of project implementation, this is important. Such monitoring is critical to directly assess the effectiveness or benefits derived from the project's habitat restoration activities. The sponsors acknowledge this and suggest that ongoing monitoring in the Asotin Basin, conducted by other entities, could be used to fill this need. More information is needed on what monitoring approaches will be used and how they will be tied to informing the location and/or design of future restoration actions. There are many "low to moderate" intensity techniques for monitoring project implementation and compliance that would provide useful information on the results of various treatment methods.
First Round ISRP Date: 6/10/2013
First Round ISRP Rating: Meets Scientific Review Criteria (Qualified)
First Round ISRP Comment:

1. Purpose: Significance to Regional Programs, Technical Background, and Objectives

This is a long-term, whole watershed "ridgetop to ridgetop" restoration project that has employed use of integrated restoration treatments (upslope, floodplain/riparian, and instream treatments). The Asotin County Conservation District manages the project and works with federal, state, and local agencies and landowners to identify and prioritize habitat restoration activities. It is an important regional program and facilitates collaboration between private landowners and agencies and enhances cost-sharing in an effort to improve riparian and aquatic habitat conditions. There has been a substantial amount of coordination and the completion of a wide array of important restoration work. It is stated that there have been large advances in habitat quantity and quality realized since beginning of work in the 1980s. Unfortunately there is no summary describing these changes, where they have occurred and what treatments, or combination of treatments appear to have been responsible for them.

The project complements the Asotin Subbasin Plan, Snake River Regional Recovery Plan, WRIA 35 Watershed Plan, and the Asotin Creek Model Watershed effort. A stated in the proposal, the past approach has been site-scale and opportunistic and this proposal will employ the "Atlas Process" to develop a more strategic approach for restoration. As described, this process will synthesize data and GIS layers and use the TAC to identify priority locations (BSRs) and treatments. There are a number of issues that need to be considered: previous ISRP comments on geomorphic analysis and monitoring do not appear to have been fully addressed; the process does not appear to provide sufficient focus on past monitoring and lessons learned over the last 15+ years of implementation; as a whole watershed restoration project including a substantial upland component, it seems that the make-up of the TAC should be interdisciplinary and not limited to biologists; the description of how priorities will be set is vague and the role of the Stakeholder TAC (local experts) seems limited to only making recommendations on project feasibility.

Looking at various reports and documents, via hotlinks in the proposal, it appears that there is a good deal of relevant information that was not included in the main body of the current proposal. One example is a wide range of public outreach and education activities. These have been ongoing for several years and likely have contributed to good landowner understanding and buy in to the restoration efforts and a higher level of understanding by residents, especially children and students, on the importance of healthy watersheds to fish and to humans. There are other examples including additional monitoring and a variety of lessons learned that were not presented or specifically referenced in the proposal. A video called “Ridgetop to Ridgetop” has been developed which is a very high quality product. The video should be very useful in attracting interest and support from landowners and the general public. This support is essential because habitat restoration often requires support of private landowners. It would be useful to get this video on the NPPC website. The video and presentation to the ISRP provide confidence that the program has made good progress, especially in regard to gaining support of private landowners.

Four general objectives were briefly identified. These objectives should include quantitative metrics, that can be monitored, and a stated time frame for the expected outcomes. In other words, based on past experience, how much can be accomplished during the next project period? The objectives should also be linked to the four limiting factors that were identified in the proposal. LWD and bed scour were not directly addressed by the objectives.

2. History: Accomplishments, Results, and Adaptive Management (Evaluation of Results)

It appears that there have been substantial accomplishments in this watershed and that they have addressed both valley bottom and upslope issues. There is very little discussion that quantitatively summarizes the extent and results of past restoration treatments. Similarly, there was very limited discussion regarding the many lessons that have likely been learned over the long history of restoration work. A positive aspect of the proposal is the recognition that a more strategic approach is needed for more effective restoration results. Unfortunately, the current approach appears limited to the instream and floodplain components of the project and does not consider upslope elements.

Ideally, the proposal should have stated its initial quantitative objectives for each of its previous actions, such as miles of stream fenced and numbers of trees planted, and then describe what was accomplished and the associated results, for example reduced water temperature or healthier riparian vegetation. Information about accomplishments was provided in linked implementation reports, but a summary of this key information should have been in the proposal so that reviewers and the Council can readily see what has been accomplished. In the linked reports, it was not clear whether the reported activities achieved the initial objectives, in part because quantitative objectives probably were not developed for the initial projects. Proposals such as this should estimate what they hope to accomplish and then evaluate what was accomplished. This is not monitoring project effectiveness, rather it is documenting accomplishments, which is a task that should be easy to do. Presentation of this information would facilitate a roll-up of habitat accomplishments across all watersheds in the Columbia basin.

The proposal attempted to address comments from the previous ISRP review. The program consulted with a BPA geomorphologist, but it is not clear to what extent the prioritization process will account for geomorphic processes, as suggested by the ISRP. The ISRP also asked for monitoring and assessment, but the sponsors have not addressed this issue other than to respond that the project is a habitat project, not RM&E. Some fish and habitat monitoring is being conducted by other entities such as WDFW and the State of Washington’s IMW. It appears that the annual implementation report contains much of this information even though the proposal does not.

Evaluation of Results

There appears to have been a good deal of productive work, coordination, and the completion of a wide array of activities over the life of this project. Unfortunately, there is a limited discussion of actual results other than the statement "to date, large advances in habitat quantity and quality have been realized." A specific example of where a description of results has not been provided is the channel, re-meander project that was completed in 2005 where nearly a mile of stream was treated on lower George Creek. The project was completed more than 7 years ago, and yet there is little discussion of the results of this very intensive, restoration treatment. Additional examples include reductions in sediment input from the use of no-till practices, revegetation of riparian areas and fencing and planting. There have clearly been important results from these treatments, but no quantitative measures or estimates are provided.

3. Project Relationships, Emerging Limiting Factors, and Tailored Questions

There is a cursory discussion of emerging limiting factors that only addresses non-native plant species. Surprisingly, there is no discussion of climate change and possible effects on stream temperature, stream flow, or potential changes in riparian vegetation. Perhaps a key limiting factor, though not emerging, is private property ownership that might prevent priority actions. The proposal highlights cooperation with landowners, but it did not identify the number of priority actions that may be constrained by unwilling landowners. How will this compromise or adversely impact adjacent habitat restoration activities?Nevertheless, the ISRP was impressed with the informative presentation and video that documented significant progress in gaining support by private landowner to protect and restore habitat.

4. Deliverables, Work Elements, Metrics, and Methods

The proposal generally describes the type of actions that will be implemented as deliverables. The proposal should quantify these deliverables so that completed actions can be compared with what was proposed. For example, how many acres, or stream miles, of riparian vegetation is proposed to be planted during the project period? Each deliverable should have a quantitative objective so that progress against the objectives can be documented. Plus, it would be good to know how much might be accomplished with the proposed budget. This type of information is needed for habitat restoration efforts throughout the Columbia basin so that the Council and planners can readily see what is being proposed and what is being accomplished. No details are provided on when this work will be accomplished or evaluated.

Methods or rationales to achieve objectives were not fully described. It is not clear how some deliverables will achieve the stated objective(s). For example, how will removal of noxious weeds reduce embeddedness in the stream channel?

Specific comments on protocols and methods described in MonitoringMethods.org

Overall, this proposal is weak regarding comprehensive monitoring for a long-term, whole watershed restoration project. It is important that a coherent monitoring plan be developed for the watershed restoration program and is one that integrates the range of activities by all players. The monitoring plan should be strategic and build on experience gained in past efforts. It should also incorporate ongoing efforts such as those for the IMW being done by the State of Washington. Monitoring should include a base level of implementation and compliance monitoring for all SWCD projects.

There is, and has been, a wide variety of monitoring activities over the long life of the project. Results of the evaluation of these efforts are not provided or discussed. A summary of past monitoring activities and findings is overdue for this project.

As stated above, this is an IMW for the State of Washington, and there is monitoring for fish response to restoration ongoing. There is no discussion of results or discussion as to any linkage with other monitoring. Also, there is no mention of ISEMP/CHAMP or AEM or how this will be incorporated into the current plans for monitoring. These efforts may serve the needs for effectiveness monitoring if they are integrated with the ongoing habitat restoration effort.


===========QUALIFICATIONS FOLLOW================

The ISRP was impressed by the sponsor’s presentation and the video that documented the program’s success in gaining support by private landowners for habitat restoration activities. Communication with private landowners and gaining their support is a key achievement of this project. The ISRP is encouraged that this effort will lead to other willing participants in habitat restoration.

The ISRP's qualifications should be addressed in contracting, and the ISRP would like to see a progress report in 2014. Qualifications include:

 

Modified by Dal Marsters on 6/11/2013 3:42:06 PM.
Documentation Links:

Council Recommendation

Assessment Number: 1994-018-05-NPCC-20131125
Project: 1994-018-05 - Asotin Creek Enhancement and Restoration
Review: 2013 Geographic Category Review
Proposal: GEOREV-1994-018-05
Proposal State: Pending BPA Response
Approved Date: 11/5/2013
Recommendation: Implement with Conditions
Comments: Implement with conditions through FY 2015. Recommendation to combine scope and appropriate funding with Project #2002-050-00. ISRP qualifications #1 and #2 to be dealt with in contracting to better align with subbasin and regional planning efforts with project implementation priorities. ISRP qualification #3 (progress report) to be submitted to the ISRP for review by April 1, 2015. Funding recommendation beyond the start of FY 2016 dependent on favorable ISRP review. Also see Programmatic Issue and Recommendation A for effectiveness monitoring (ISRP qualification #4).
Conditions:
Council Condition #1 ISRP Qualification: Qualification #1—ISRP qualifications #1 and #2 to be dealt with in contracting to better align with subbasin and regional planning efforts with project implementation priorities.
Council Condition #2 ISRP Qualification: Qualification #2—ISRP qualifications #1 and #2 to be dealt with in contracting to better align with subbasin and regional planning efforts with project implementation priorities.
Council Condition #3 ISRP Qualification: Qualification #3—ISRP qualification #3 (progress report) to be submitted to the ISRP for review by April 1, 2015. Funding recommendation beyond the start of FY 2016 dependent on favorable ISRP review.
Council Condition #4 ISRP Qualification: Qualification #4—Also see Programmatic Issue and Recommendation A for effectiveness monitoring (ISRP qualification #4).
Council Condition #5 Recommendation to combine scope and appropriate funding with Project #2002-050-00.
Review: FY07-09 Solicitation Review

Legal Assessment (In-Lieu)

Assessment Number: 1994-018-05-INLIEU-20090521
Project Number: 1994-018-05
Review: FY07-09 Solicitation Review
Completed Date: 10/6/2006
In Lieu Rating: Problems May Exist
Cost Share Rating: 2 - May be reasonable
Comment: Multiple restoration activities; multiple other entities potentially authorized/required to conduct; need confirmation that funding not applied for entities already required to conduct the work

Capital Assessment

Assessment Number: 1994-018-05-CAPITAL-20090618
Project Number: 1994-018-05
Review: FY07-09 Solicitation Review
Completed Date: 2/27/2007
Capital Rating: Does Not Qualify for Capital Funding
Capital Asset Category: None
Comment: None

Independent Scientific Review Panel Assessment

Assessment Number: 1994-018-05-ISRP-20060831
Project: 1994-018-05 - Asotin Creek Enhancement and Restoration
Review: FY07-09 Solicitation Review
Completed Date: 8/31/2006
Final Round ISRP Date: None
Final Round ISRP Rating: Meets Scientific Review Criteria (Qualified)
Final Round ISRP Comment:
The ISRP recommends the project as fundable with the qualifications that geomorphological watershed analysis and monitoring and assessment results from previous projects be incorporated into the proposal. This qualification applies to both Asotin SWCD projects.

Our qualification to the fundable recommendation is to point to the self-acknowledged "snapshot" nature of the Subbasin Plan, and the lack of geomorphic process analysis that is a crucial part of understanding what should be done where and when to rehabilitate streams in Asotin County. The next review of the Subbasin Plan should include a review of the fluvial geomorphology, as context for proposed actions in the revised plan.

Our second qualification is that evaluation of monitoring and assessment of previous projects ought to be submitted prior to the second year of funding. The sponsors need to more fully describe how the efforts to manage and improve the uplands and riparian areas tie into the stream work. It is essential to rehabilitate riparian buffer zones to complement conservation measures in the agricultural areas and in an attempt to stabilize the over-widened creek.

The proposers' response indicates clearly that they are relying on the Asotin Subbasin Plan for identification of their proposed projects, as they should be. They mention changes in agricultural practices etc that are in response to the passage in the Subbasin Plan: "Historic and current land use practices have altered the hydrologic cycle of Asotin Creek. Farming, timber harvesting, and urbanization have changed the water cycle, reducing water infiltration and accelerating runoff. To a lesser extent, modifications of the riparian zone, including tree removal, road building, grazing, soil compaction, and flood control projects also altered Asotin Creek hydrology… Asotin Creek is now wider and shallower than it was historically. Changes in the hydrologic cycle are demonstrated by excessive runoff, altered peak flow regimes, lack of ground water recharge, reduction in soil moisture storage, and low late-season flow (Figure 2-3). Stream channel straightening, an increase in slope, and flow velocity have caused a loss of instream fish habitat, especially pools."

However, the problem faced in this subbasin is one of recovery from severe degradation, as is clearly stated on p.12 of the Subbasin Plan: "Asotin Creek historically had a less severe gradient, a meandering flow pattern with point bars that formed pools and riffles, and well developed floodplain connections. The point bars provided habitat for an entire aquatic community of plants and animals. The stream channel had long, deep pools and a well-developed thalweg. Today, much of Asotin Creek and its tributaries have been straightened, diked, or relocated. The straight, wide and shallow channel continuously adjusts in order to compensate for alterations to channel shape and location, floodplain disconnections, and modifications to runoff patterns. Flood events in conjunction with these channel modifications have resulted in a braided channel lacking instream structure, pools, and woody riparian vegetation (NRCS 2001). The loss of well developed thalwegs with naturally functioning point bars is responsible for much of the loss of fish habitat."

In this situation, rehabilitating existing riparian zones may be necessary while re-establishing the dynamic equilibrium of the channel. This will eventually require redefinition of the riparian zone and the existing work will need to be extended accordingly.

Unfortunately, the proposers' belief that riparian zone recovery will lead to channel recovery is unlikely to be borne out, although a dense riparian stand will act to filter sediment leaving the land, or being carried downstream in a flood occupying the floodplain - where it is still connected hydrologically.
Documentation Links:

Council Recommendation

Assessment Number: 1994-018-05-NPCC-20090924
Project: 1994-018-05 - Asotin Creek Enhancement and Restoration
Review: FY07-09 Solicitation Review
Approved Date: 10/23/2006
Recommendation: Fund
Comments: ISRP fundable qualified: Programmatic Issue: habitat m&e. Sponsors should address ISRP concern next time they report to Bonnevilles (copy to Council)

Project Relationships: None

Name Role Organization
Megan Stewart Project Lead Asotin County Conservation District
Dawn Boorse Env. Compliance Lead Bonneville Power Administration
Peter Lofy Supervisor Bonneville Power Administration
Sandy Cunningham (Inactive) Supervisor Asotin County Conservation District
Andre L'Heureux Project Manager Bonneville Power Administration